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By John Helmer, Moscow Russian dairy producers have filed for protection from pseudo-cheese exported in growing volumes from Ukraine through customs checkpoints in the Belgorod region. According to Soyuzmoloko, the Russian dairy producers’ association, Ukrainian exporters have been cutting their cheese shipments across the border, and more than doubling the volume of the substitutes, camouflaging [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Stealth warfare against the Russian economy may be encouraging capital outflows, but for Russians on the home front, glasses are still being raised with a growing volume of sparkling wine or champagne going down the hatch. Abrau-Durso, the only Russian winemaker listed on a public stock exchange, is also going up, [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The Australian Government has decided not to exclude President Vladimir Putin from the summit meeting of the G-20 heads of government scheduled for Brisbane in November. The move to withdraw the entry ban, first declared on March 19, is too late to prevent the restoration of Australia’s $200 million beef export [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Australian meat imports to Russia have been banned by an order of the Russian veterinary and phyto-sanitary service, Rosselkhoznadzaor (RSN). The order was issued on March 31, and halts a trade which earned Australian meat exporters almost $200 million last year. The Russian action came twelve days after the Australian Foreign [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The assets of Petro Poroshenko, frontrunner in the Ukrainian presidential election called for May 25, are facing growing pressure in Crimea and mainland Russia. If US and French Government proposals now in discussion in Brussels expand anti-Russian sanctions to strike at the offshore assets of Russian oligarchs, Poroshenko is likely to [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Would you buy a used car from David Bonderman (lead image), Dmitry Shvets, and Jan Dunning if you knew they registered their businesses in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Cayman Islands, and Bahamas; kept their takings out of their companies and in their pockets; and were more heavily indebted to the [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to pork sausage. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our profitability. If Europeans do that, it’s classical from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. If Russians do it, it’s trade war. Oleg Tyagnibok, [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow Oligarchy versus democracy is a very old game, and so are the seven deadly sins. Why exactly men like Vladimir Potanin, Mikhail Prokhorov, Alisher Usmanov, Andrei Melnichenko et al. should calculate that advertising their standard of living should help them keep it is difficult to say. Maybe their pockets are under [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow It is quite clear that the Russian Government objects to an international agreement to stop fishing for the Antarctic toothfish in the Ross Sea region of Antarctica. What is far from clear is why. On the surface, the Russian fleet caught just 522 tonnes of the species from the Ross Sea [...]

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By John Helmer, Moscow The report last week of an abrupt ban on kangaroo imports to Russia, issued on July 25, concluded with the statement by Rosselkhoznadzor (RSN), the government’s veterinary and phytosanitary inspectorate, that there had been no phytosanitary problem with the meat, and that with guarantees RSN will negotiate with the Australian exporter, [...]